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About Bishop Thomas John Paprocki

Date and Place of Birth: August 5, 1952; Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Academic Background (Degree; date of Graduation):

  • St. Casimir School (Cermak Rd. & Albany Ave.) (June, 1966).
  • Quigley Preparatory Seminary South, Chicago (May, 1970).
  • Niles College of Loyola University, Chicago (B.A.; May, 1974).
  • St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois (S.T.B., 1976; M.Div., 1978; S.T.L., 1979).
  • DePaul University College of Law, Chicago (J.D., June, 1981).
  • Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome (J.C.L., June, 1989).
  • Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome (J.C.D., March, 1991).
  • University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, and Chicago, Illinois (M.B.A., 2013).

Date and Place of Priesthood Ordination: May 10, 1978, Mundelein, Illinois.
Date and Place of Episcopal Ordination: March 19, 2003, Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago.

Professional experience:

  • Associate Pastor, St. Michael Church, Chicago (1978‑83).
  • Administrator, St. Joseph Parish, Chicago (1983‑86).
  • President, (South) Chicago Legal Clinic (1981‑86; 1991‑2014); President Emeritus and Of Counsel (2014-2017).
  • Vice‑Chancellor, Archdiocese of Chicago (1985‑92).
  • Chancellor, Archdiocese of Chicago (1992‑2000).
  • Pastor, St. Constance Parish, Chicago (2001-2003).
  • Episcopal Vicar, Vicariate IV; Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago (2003-2010).
  • Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois (2010-    ).
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law (1999-2015).
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Notre Dame Law School (2016-   ).


Bishop Thomas John Paprocki was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1978. After ordination, he studied law at DePaul University College of Law and was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1981. Working as a parish priest at St. Michael Church in South Chicago, a neighborhood with high unemployment due to shutdowns of the local steel mills, then-Father Paprocki co‑founded the South Chicago Legal Clinic to help answer the need for legal services for the poor. In 2014 Bishop Paprocki was named President Emeritus and Of Counsel of the organization, now called the Chicago Legal Clinic.  

In November, 1985, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin appointed Fr. Paprocki Vice‑Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago and in 1987 sent him to do post‑graduate studies in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.  He completed his doctoral degree in 1991. Father Paprocki then returned to his previous position in Chicago as Vice‑Chancellor and was appointed Chancellor in March, 1992, serving in that capacity under Cardinal Bernardin and then under Cardinal Francis George, following Cardinal Bernardin’s death in 1996.

Concluding his service as Chancellor after two terms in office in June, 2000, Father Paprocki studied Polish language and culture at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. In January 2001, he was appointed Pastor of St. Constance Parish, serving primarily a large immigrant community from Poland on the northwest side of Chicago. Pope John Paul II appointed him to serve as Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago on January 24, 2003. Cardinal George named him Liaison for Health and Hospital Affairs in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Bishop Paprocki serves as Vice-President of the Illinois Catholic Health Association. He is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, the Committee on Budget and Finance, and the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. He formerly served on the USCCB Administrative Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. In addition to English, he speaks Polish, Spanish and Italian, and he reads Latin. On June 22, 2010, Bishop Paprocki was installed the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. In May 2013 he received his Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from the University of Notre Dame. He taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law from 1999 to 2015. He joined the Adjunct Faculty of Notre Dame Law School in 2016.

Bishop Paprocki's hobbies are reading, running and playing hockey. He has run twenty-four marathons: Chicago (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2005), Columbus, Ohio (1998), Boston (1998), Rome (2000) Athens (2000), Washington, D.C. (2004 & 2007), Dayton, Ohio (2006), Dublin, Ireland (2008), Minneapolis-St. Paul (2009), Denver (2010), Kansas City (2011), St. Louis (2012), Springfield (2013 and 2015), Philadelphia (2016), Indianapolis (2017), and Long Beach, CA (2018), in the process raising $499,920.38 for charity. He has made the connection between sports and faith a focus of his ministry. In this regard, he serves as the Chairman of the Episcopal Advisory Board of Catholic Athletes for Christ. His book, Holy Goals for Body and Soul: Eight Steps to Connect Sports with God and Faith, was published by Ave Maria Press (Notre Dame, Indiana), in 2013.

(Updated 7-30-2019)

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